Chinese UAV & UCAV development


gelgoog

Brigadier
Registered Member
The Lancet-3 drone has a warhead of 3 kg and some claim it was upgraded to 5 kg. A Metis-M ATGM has a warhead of 2.5 kg, Kornet ATGM has a warhead of 4.6 kg, and the Khrizantema ATGM has a warhead of 6-8kg.

There is a version of the Switchblade, the 600, which has a larger payload. But even a 8kg payload might not be enough to disable a whole artillery position.
 

FairAndUnbiased

Colonel
Registered Member
The Lancet-3 drone has a warhead of 3 kg and some claim it was upgraded to 5 kg. A Metis-M ATGM has a warhead of 2.5 kg, Kornet ATGM has a warhead of 4.6 kg, and the Khrizantema ATGM has a warhead of 6-8kg.

There is a version of the Switchblade, the 600, which has a larger payload. But even a 8kg payload might not be enough to disable a whole artillery position.
ATGMs also have their kinetic energy and the chemical energy of the rocket fuel on top of their warhead energy.

I believe Lancet-3 is also showing to be a failure. It has made as much positive contribution for Russia as Switchblades did for Ukraine.
 

tankphobia

Junior Member
Registered Member
seems like Switchblade has been an utter failure though. They have the firepower of a single hand grenade. Relatively heavy loitering munitions like Shehad are doing the heavy lifting right now, while conventional UCAV like TB-2 were doing the heavy lifting early on. Those can be taken out with gun AA relatively cost effectively as they have the flight characteristics and sizes of WW2 planes.

But yes, if it existed, a Switchblade type drone that flew very low to the ground yet had the explosive power like something closer to an ATGM than a hand grenade would be impossible to deal with using a gun system. Such a drone does not yet exist due to the limitations on how rotorcraft work and the hard limits on the energy density of batteries vs. say an ATGM which has the much higher energy density of chemical fuel and how rocket flight works.
The talk around Chinese fh901 a few pages back would be capable of carrying a decent sized warhead. But regarding your talk of how ATGMs are more energy dense I disagree, most UAVs that are above hobby grade has a far longer range that any lightweight anti tank weapon could ever dream of, they can be deployed a decent distance from the frontline and still do their jobs while a ATGM crew needs the rocket to go as fast as possible to reduce chance of counter fire.

But wars are also not fought solely on tanks, a attack on foxholes, logistics hubs and ammo dumps can be just as effective as attacking armoured vehicles directly, so atgm like capabilities aren't necessary or even desired in every attack due to trade off of speed and cost.
 

FairAndUnbiased

Colonel
Registered Member
The talk around Chinese fh901 a few pages back would be capable of carrying a decent sized warhead. But regarding your talk of how ATGMs are more energy dense I disagree, most UAVs that are above hobby grade has a far longer range that any lightweight anti tank weapon could ever dream of, they can be deployed a decent distance from the frontline and still do their jobs while a ATGM crew needs the rocket to go as fast as possible to reduce chance of counter fire.

But wars are also not fought solely on tanks, a attack on foxholes, logistics hubs and ammo dumps can be just as effective as attacking armoured vehicles directly, so atgm like capabilities aren't necessary or even desired in every attack due to trade off of speed and cost.
0.6 kg with something that has low kinetic energy is a relatively small amount of power. Ammo dumps, maybe they can be hit. As a point of comparison, ATGMs have 4x bigger warhead at minimum and also have the boost from rocket fuel and kinetic energy. Yet even shooting at an ammo dump with an ATGM isn't guaranteed to take it out. Shooting logistics hubs with an ATGM? You'll damage a warehouse a little. And that's still more powerful than a small drone. A Shahed or Harop is in a totally different weight class + chemical combustion energy.

a battery has minimum 10x lower energy density than almost any combustion fuel. So a rocket powered ATGM doesn't really have dead weight: the fuel is part of the payload and the outer casing contributes to kinetic energy. A small loitering drone has significant dead weight: the batteries are less explosive than combustion fuels and the kinetic energy is low due to low speed.

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yes it has longer range, but it does less with that range when it arrives on target.
 

tankphobia

Junior Member
Registered Member
0.6 kg with something that has low kinetic energy is a relatively small amount of power. Ammo dumps, maybe they can be hit. As a point of comparison, ATGMs have 4x bigger warhead at minimum and also have the boost from rocket fuel and kinetic energy. Yet even shooting at an ammo dump with an ATGM isn't guaranteed to take it out. Shooting logistics hubs with an ATGM? You'll damage a warehouse a little. And that's still more powerful than a small drone. A Shahed or Harop is in a totally different weight class + chemical combustion energy.

a battery has minimum 10x lower energy density than almost any combustion fuel. So a rocket powered ATGM doesn't really have dead weight: the fuel is part of the payload and the outer casing contributes to kinetic energy. A small loitering drone has significant dead weight: the batteries are less explosive than combustion fuels and the kinetic energy is low due to low speed.

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yes it has longer range, but it does less with that range when it arrives on target.
FH901 has a warhead weight of 3.5kg, for comparison a hand grenade has something like 180g of explosives, such a UAV is roughly equivalent to a 120mm Mortar shell in terms of payload. That is easily powerful enough to blow up logistic trucks, cars, forklifts and personnel concentration.

While a atgm has higher kinetic energy than a drone is that really relevant in this discussion? If you're going for anti tank the extra few hundred m/s you get is not very important compared to the speed of the copper jet from the shaped charge. In a anti personnel role that excess kinetic energy is just going into the environment more than anything, either way kinetic energy does not strike me as too important in this discussion and even then many loitering drones can hit 150km/hr+ readily.

On your last point comparing energy density is not particularly accurate in this instance as drones and ATGMs have different flight profiles, one uses wing lift and the other rocketry. No atgm can loiter for 20 minutes 10km away to confirm target before impacting, ATGMs are tactical while UAVs can be used for strategic strikes, if your ammo dumps and logistics hubs are within atgm range than you're already in greater trouble than worrying about UAVs or ATGMs.
 

FairAndUnbiased

Colonel
Registered Member
FH901 has a warhead weight of 3.5kg, for comparison a hand grenade has something like 180g of explosives, such a UAV is roughly equivalent to a 120mm Mortar shell in terms of payload. That is easily powerful enough to blow up logistic trucks, cars, forklifts and personnel concentration.

While a atgm has higher kinetic energy than a drone is that really relevant in this discussion? If you're going for anti tank the extra few hundred m/s you get is not very important compared to the speed of the copper jet from the shaped charge. In a anti personnel role that excess kinetic energy is just going into the environment more than anything, either way kinetic energy does not strike me as too important in this discussion and even then many loitering drones can hit 150km/hr+ readily.

On your last point comparing energy density is not particularly accurate in this instance as drones and ATGMs have different flight profiles, one uses wing lift and the other rocketry. No atgm can loiter for 20 minutes 10km away to confirm target before impacting, ATGMs are tactical while UAVs can be used for strategic strikes, if your ammo dumps and logistics hubs are within atgm range than you're already in greater trouble than worrying about UAVs or ATGMs.
We'll see how it turns out, the FH901 is definitely heavier than a Switchblade and may have a large enough warhead to be effective. The ineffectual Switchblade is what I was thinking of when thinking of payload size.
 

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